Saturday, 20 March 2010


Ken Berwitz

During President Obama's famous meeting with Republicans last month, he made a lot of promises about how the final health care bill would be written.  Was he telling the truth or lying?

Excerpted from an Associated Press article:

It was a bold response to skyrocketing health insurance premiums. President Barack Obama would give federal authorities the power to block unreasonable rate hikes.

Yet when Democrats unveiled the final, incarnation of their health care bill this week, the proposal was nowhere to be found.

Ditto with several Republican ideas that Obama had said he wanted to include after a televised bipartisan summit last month, including a plan by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma to send investigators disguised as patients to hospitals in search of waste, fraud and abuse.

And those "special deals" that Obama railed against and said he wanted to eliminate? With the exception of two of the most notorious extra Medicaid money for Nebraska and a carve-out for Florida seniors faced with losing certain extra Medicare benefits they are all still there.

For the White House, these were the latest unfulfilled commitments related to Obama's health care proposal, starting with his campaign promise to let C-SPAN cameras film negotiations over the bill. Obama also backed down with little apparent regret on his support for a new government-run insurance plan as part of the legislation, a liberal priority.


How many lies have there been so far?  How many more lies are there to come?

Why would anyone believe a thing this man promises?  Why would anyone believe a word this man says?


Ken Berwitz

Making empty threats and then looking the other way as Iran builds nuclear weaponry.  Holding up the delivery of promised weapons systems.  Demanding no more residential housing for Jews be built in the capital city of Jerusalem.  President Obama has been a busy bee when it comes to Israel, hasn't he?

Here, from Paul Mirengoff at, is his latest salvo - this time it is domestic in nature:

Boring from within 

March 19, 2010 Posted by Paul at 9:35 PM


The Obama administration has tapped Nawar Shora, legal director of the Arab-American Anti-Defamation Committee (ADC), to serve as a senior adviser for the TSA's office of civil rights and civil liberties.


The ADC is, among other things, virulently anti-Israel. During the 2006 war in Lebanon, it filed a lawsuit claiming that the U.S. government failed to fulfill its obligation to protect US citizens "under attack" in Lebanon. The lawsuit sought to compel U.S. officials to request a cease fire and to stop all U.S. military support to Israel during the evacuation of US citizens from Lebanon.


Fortunately, TSA doesn't make foreign policy and the Obama administration's policy towards Israel can't much worse in any case. But TSA is involved in protecting the U.S. from attack, and the ADC has taken plenty of positions that bear on this matter.


For example, it has been a fierce critic of the Patriot Act since day one. And ADC failed Scott's "Al Arian test" when it claimed that the indictment of Professor Sami Al Arian was "a political witch-hunt, a vendetta, and a kind of very, very ugly post-9/11 McCarthyism." Al Arian eventually pleaded guilty to conspiracy to help the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a specially designated terrorist organization.


The Washington Post, in what I would describe as a celebratory article, is very clear about what Shora's role will be at TSA. It states (under his picture in an article appearing today) that Shora "is used to fighting for the civil rights of Muslims and Arabs, but now he will do so as a federal government official." Shora is equally clear, saying "it is about time I cross over to the government and start working within the system."


But TSA is not a civil rights organization; it is (or should be) an organization dedicated to promoting safety and thwarting terrorism. Shora's appointment is more evidence that TSA is not sufficiently dedicated to that purpose. Shora's mission in life is not promoting safety and thwarting terrorism; it is promoting the interests of Arab-Americans by, for example, making sure they are treated the same way other Americans are.


Unfortunately, the two interests are not always consistent. I would argue that they were not consistent, for example, at Fort Hood when it came to dealing with the Arab-American officer who murdered Americans. Lives were lost because we were overly solicitous of that Arab-Americans civil rights, as conceived by ADC. Lives might well be lost to the extent we similarly are overly solicitous of the civil rights of Arab-American airline passengers.


We will need to keep a close eye on the Obama administration TSA.

I say this a lot, but it has to be said again:  According to exit polling from the last election, 78% of Jews, most of whom presumably support Israel, voted for Barack Obama.  I hope they're happy with what they got.

Speaking as one of the other 22%, I can assure you I am not.

free` I read this the other day and think it answers your 78% assumption. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Ben-Artzi said it was no coincidence that the 78 percent of American Jews who voted for Obama was roughly the same percentage of Jews in the US who do not give their children a Jewish education. “It’s sad for me to say that those 78% of American Jews who voted for Obama are disconnected from their heritage and from Israel,” Ben-Artzi said. “They are indifferent to Israel and they want to be more American than Americans. Israel can’t count on those Jews being pro-Israel.” “We must face the reality that not only is the American government not with us but so are most of the Jews in America,” Ben-Artzi said. here is the link to the report (03/20/10)


Ken Berwitz

That title wouldn't work very well on a theater marquee.  But it probably will give Sean Hannity a pretty strong feeling of edification.

David Frum and his staff have sifted through the charges levelled against Sean Hannity and his freedom concerts by Debbie Schlussel.  He has come to the conclusion that she is wrong on all major counts.

His piece is too long to post in a blog, so you can read it by clicking here

Despite Mr. Frum's efforts, I still do not feel I know for sure where the truth lies.  What I do know is that I'm truly sorry that this unseemly catfight is being run in public, especially when it involves so valuable a commodity as our troops.  

I hope Ms. Schlussel is wrong.  But we have to know if she is right.  Sadly, this doesn't look ready to go away in the near future.

How I wish it would.


Ken Berwitz

Charles Blow is, among other things, a columnist for the New York Times.  Anyone who reads this blog knows that I have had my problems with that paper's columnists.  But Blow appears to be in a different league than the others.

Here is his handiwork from this morning's paper.  With my comments in blue.

Could Obama Be Invincible? No he could not.  No politician is.  But thanks for making your irrationally high regard for President Obama clear right from the start.


Published: March 19, 2010


As we stand at the verge of the historic vote on the health care bill a signature piece of President Obamas agenda it feels appropriate to take a look at how he has fared during the long slog that got us here. My quick assessment: remarkably well.  Oh, really?  Plummeting poll numbers, a laughingstock who is either disdained or ignored by heads of state around the world, three straight elections where the Democratic incumbent or prohibitive favorite he campaigned for lost?  Thats remarkably well?  Tell us:  whats bad, Mr. Blow? 


First, lets take his job approval rating. Yes, it slid during the summer, but it stabilized around 50 percent in November and has hovered there ever since.  Fascinating.  Why did you stop at November, Mr. Blow?  Why arent you looking at the current numbers?  Here are a few examples of how Mr. Obamas approval/disapproval moved from the beginning of the summer to now in major polls:  ABC/Washington Post went from 65%-31% to 51%-46%.  CNN/ORC went from 61-37 to 49/50.  Fox/OD went from 62/31 to 46/48.  And in the Times' own poll, conducted jointly with CBS, Mr. Obama went from 63/26 to 46/45.  That is far from just a slide.  It is a near-avalanche.  Your vague little spin-fest makes you look like nothing but an Obama suck-up trying to run interference for him. 


The empty-headed chattering class began another round of speculation and inane analysis this week when his approval rating dropped to 46 percent, its lowest yet. Silly pundits.  Empty headed chattering class?  Inane analysis?  Silly?  Two sentences with three gratuitous insults?  That gives me a strong sense that the lady (in this case, the journalist) doth protest too much.  What are you trying to insulate Barack Obama from?  Let's keep going and find out.


It was a minor tick and overplayed. Assuming Blow is referring to the NY Times numbers, they have gone from +37% (63-26)  to +1% (46-45).  If thats a minor tick, whats a major one? If I were a Republican strategist (God forbid!) Another gratuitous insult.  Nice. , I would actually be very worried that the lower 50s/upper 40s could be Obamas bottom. He has weathered some of the worst months of his young presidency recently, and his numbers have barely budged.   If I were a Democratic strategist (God help Democrats if they think the way Blow does) I would be very worried that a man with no accomplishments, who became President only on image and perception, seems to have lost so much of his image and perception.  I would be even more worried about his obvious lack of coattails, as Deeds in Virginia, Corzine in New Jersey and Coakley in Massachusetts can attest.


The second thing to remember is that job approval is only one measure of how well a president connects with the electorate.  True


At the conclusion of his Wednesday appearance on Fox News, insolent interviewer Bret Baier interrupted the president for the umpteenth time to ask him if he thought that the health care bill would pass. Obama responded with a familiar line: I do. Im confident it will pass. And the reason Im confident that its going to pass is because its the right thing to do. Surprise, surprise.  Were back to gratuitous insults again.  Evidently Blow thinks it is insolent for Baier to expect answers rather than allow Mr. Obama to filibuster and recite a stump speech.  Does Mr. Blow think that anything short of complete submission to Saint Barack is wrong?  Not for me.  And, I fervently hope, not for you either. 


This idea that he wants reform because its the right thing to do resonates with people. Whether they agree with him or not, they seem to genuinely believe that he has good intentions and that he is, at his base, a good man. This view of him has so penetrated the public that it often goes unspoken.  Unspoken, and unshown in the poll data.  Mr. Blow:  your unconditional love of Barack Obama is not shared by everyone else, even if you fantasize otherwise.  If this resonated so well, why did the poll numbers drop so steeply oh, thats right, I forgot:  You think going from 63-26 to 46-45, accompanied by Democrats losing every election where Mr. Obama campaigned for them, is nothing more than a little blip on the political radar screen.  Can you believe the Times gives this guy a column???


But, it shows up in the polls, albeit in indirect ways.


For instance, a Pew Research Center poll released on Thursday found that despite Obamas 46 percent approval rating, 61 percent of Americans still say that he is inspiring. Furthermore, 57 percent describe him as decisive, 54 percent say that he still makes them feel hopeful and 49 percent said that he still makes them feel proud. Only about a third would describe him in negative terms like arrogant and detached, or would say that he makes them feel angry.  Inspiring and decisive are higher than his approval ratings, thats true.  And it means that, to a good many people, his performance does not measure up to his personal attributes which aint good.  And the hopeful/proud levels arent even that much higher than his overall approval rating.  Did you think we wouldnt notice that?


This disparity holds true even among conservative Republicans, some of his most ardent critics. While only 12 percent approve of the job the president is doing, more than twice as many still view him as an inspiring figure.  Whoopee doo.  7 of 8 say he is doing a lousy job and one or two of the 7 says he does a lousy job despite being personally inspiring.  Try to build a campaign on that, Mr. Blow.


Regardless of whether the health care bill survives, Obama has demonstrated that he can. And if the reform bill passes, and his numbers rebound, Im going to take to calling him Barack the Unbreakable.   Based on the "evidence" you have presented in this column, that is so ridiculous and so unfounded that I think you need some help in remedial logic.


If you want an Obama acolyte, this guy is about as good as it will ever get.  I'd call him a Blowhard, but that is too easy a pun, and I'm sure it has been done many times. 

How about if I just call him someone who shouldn't be embarrassing himself by writing columns?  And how about if I mention to the New York Times that every time he embarrasses himself he embarrasses the Times too?

There.  That's better.

Zeke ... ... .... Can't wait for Mr. Blow's analysis of Adolf Hitler : Decisive, High Approval Rating (Seig Heil), .... "on the verge of the historic...." ....... ...... ...... ..... All fluff and mindless rhetoric ..... ..... ..... like a 4 yr old saying " I don't like you. You are a poo-poo-head." .... .... Why does the left continue to think that intensely angry insults constitute compelling debate ? (03/20/10)


Ken Berwitz

I don't often agree completely with a New York Times editorial.  But today's lead editorial, which details the situation regarding Governor David Paterson, is one such instance:


Fleeing a Sinking Governorship

Published: March 19, 2010


Five top state officials have now fled Gov. David Patersons side, the latest of them being his press secretary. The terms of their departure made it clear that they were either implicated in or appalled by what appears to have been an attempt by Mr. Paterson to suppress charges of domestic violence against one of the his closest aides.


It is always hard for us to believe that things can get worse in New York States so-called government, but Mr. Paterson keeps proving us wrong.


He has left Albany paralyzed, run in name only by a governor who appears to have little influence, and even less power, and is facing at least two investigations. In addition to the domestic violence case, Mr. Paterson also is in trouble for allegedly lying about paying for prime Yankees seats.


Meanwhile, the governor is clinging to his vow to stay in office until the next governor is sworn in, still refusing to be candid with the voters about what happened and failing to provide any evidence to refute the mounting evidence against him.


This means that New Yorkers still dont know everything that transpired between the time a New York woman told a judge that Mr. Patersons close aide had beaten her and the time she failed to appear in court to finalize an order of protection against him.


But we do know that Mr. Patersons press secretary, Marissa Shorenstein, resigned after The Times disclosed that Mr. Paterson had her call the woman before her court appearance.


Ms. Shorenstein said she couldnt do her job if shes not told the truth, or is unwittingly passing on false information. We also know that another aide contacted the woman in the abuse case, as did the State Police unit that provides Mr. Patersons personal protection. The superintendent of the State Police retired, and the state official who supervises the police quit in protest.


Meanwhile, Mr. Paterson has increasingly withdrawn from state business, doing the occasional interview and cutting the occasional ribbon.


But the governors active, daily participation is vital most urgently to negotiate and then enact a painfully spare state budget by April 1.


If Mr. Paterson plans to prefer stubborn self-imposed isolation in Albany, the least he can do for the state he serves would be to put Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch firmly and finally in charge of concluding negotiations on the budget.


He should make it clear to a few legislators mainly the cranky Senator Carl Kruger, the Finance Committee chairman who has expressed doubts about negotiating with Mr. Ravitch that the lieutenant governor speaks for the governors office.


We believe that the only way the governor can hang on to his job is to prove quickly and convincingly that he did no wrong in the matter of the abuse case or the Yankees ticket scandal. If not, he should resign.


Mr. Paterson is using the investigations as a shield. But the governors delay in talking straight to New Yorkers does not offer him the kind of protection he seeks. His silence only makes his departure look more inevitable. 

When Paterson first took office, after Eliot Spitzer was forced to resign in scandal, I (and many others) point out how dirty he was;  that he had been using campaign funds as a piggy-bank for his personal expenses and to rent hotel rooms for amorous trysts with one or another of his extramarital girlfriends.  The New York Times should have been screaming for Paterson to resign right then and there.

Instead, the Times looked the other way on his behalf.  And it was far from the only media venue guilty of doing so.

But now, after over a year of Paterson's fun and games, even the Times has had its fill. 

Paterson should resign now.  Today.  This afternoon.  Before dinner.

Let Carl Ravitch, the Lieutenant Governor (who probably shouldn't even be in that position since Paterson had no legal right to appoint him) be a caretaker until November.  At least he has a demonstrated record of competence.  Anyone but Paterson. 

Enough is enough. 

Zeke ... .... The NY Governor is sworn in January 1st. .... "[Let] Carl Ravitch, be a caretaker [Governor] until November." .... .... .... .... .... In fact, let's get rid of EVERY NY politician who is as crooked as Paterson .... It sure will solve the Parking Problem in Albany. (03/20/10)


Ken Berwitz

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congressional budget scorekeepers say a Medicare fix that Democrats included in earlier versions of their health care bill would push it into the red.

The Congressional Budget Office said Friday that rolling back a programmed cut in Medicare fees to doctors would cost $208 billion over 10 years. If added back to the health care overhaul bill, it would wipe out all the deficit reduction, leaving the legislation $59 billion in the red.

The so-called doc fix was part of the original House bill. Because of its high cost, Democrats decided to pursue it separately. Republicans say the cost should not be ignored. Congress has usually waived the cuts to doctors year by year.

Is this the only revelation we well see that shows how much further ObamaCare will put us in the red?  Are you kidding?  Common sense tells us that it is just the start; just the first step in unraveling facts that show just how fraudulent any claim of lowering the debt is.

Ask yourself this:  in your lifetime, have you ever known of even one government program, no matter how specific and tightly controlled - that came in at or under budget?  Me neither.

Now think about health care.  Think about the opportunities there are for fraud within health care.  Think about how medicare has gone countless billions above any cost estimates ever given by the government.  And multiply it by the amount they are pretending that ObamaCare will cost (which, if history is any indication, will be dramatically higher).

Anyone who believes a word these liars say about containing the cost of ObamaCare is living in a dream world. 

Are you in that dream world?  I hope not.

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